See how our pitch was built
Team Pd GD Pt
1 Arbroath 9 14 21
2 Raith Rovers 9 11 17
3 East Fife 9 5 16
4 Brechin 9 2 13
5 Stranraer 9 -1 12
6 Airdrieonians 9 -2 10
7 Stenhousemuir 9 -7 9
8 Forfar 9 -8 9
9 Dumbarton 9 -6 8
10 Montrose 9 -8 8
Updated: 6th Oct
Saturday April 14th 2018

Raith Rovers 2 – 0 Queen’s Park

TITLE RACE BACK ON AS RAITH WIN

Two first-half goals saw Raith ease past Queen’s Park with a routine win at Stark’s Park, as drama elsewhere saw fresh life injected into the League One championship campaign. Strikes from Bobby Barr and Dario Zanatta, together with Stranraer’s defeat of Ayr United, saw Raith climb to within two points of their rivals for automatic promotion to the Scottish Championship.

Rovers scored early, and – despite some neat attacking play and no little effort from the visitors – looked a step ahead of their opponents in every department. The Stark’s Park faithful headed home happy, with next week’s trip to Stair Park offering Raith the chance to top the table once again, before Ayr next kick-off at Alloa on Sunday.

On a lovely sunny afternoon, the first signs of Spring brought five changes to the Raith line-up – Willis Furtado, Regan Hendry, and Ross Matthews dropped to the bench, with both Kyle Benedictus and keeper Aaron Lennox out of the squad altogether. Herron and Robertson would sit at the base of midfield, with McHattie and Barr on the left, and Thomson and Zanatta on the right. Buchanan was furthest forward, with Lewis Vaughan in support. Buchanan tested visiting keeper White’s reflexes in the first minute, with a flashing drive well saved.

With Queen’s first attack, a deep corner from youngster Aiden Keena was poked wide by Cummings, under pressure from Davidson and Murray. An early goal would have suited the Spiders, who arrived in Kirkcaldy without their troubles to seek. Level on points with Albion Rovers, and facing a relegation play-off at best, manager Gus MacPherson made three changes from last week’s odd-goal-in-five defeat at home to East Fife. Luke Donnelly and Thomas Orr were both named as substitutes, with McLaughlin dropping out; Cummings, Brady, and centre-half Magee were all drafted in.

In the shade on the Railway Stand side, McHattie showed himself a willing runner on the Rovers left; equally, Gibson and Burns looked to make ground on the visitors’ left in the opening minutes. McHattie’s inside ball allowed Vaughan to play in Buchanan on five minutes – the pass fell just beyond the Raith frontman and out of play.

On nine minutes, relief for the home fans with a straightforward opener for Raith – as Herron found Thomson wide on the right, the Raith full-back had time to cross deep to the far post. Bobby Barr’s composed first-time finish across White found the corner of the net. With no pressure on the ball in midfield, and their defensive marking scheme exposed so early, the portents were not good for the visitors.

With eighteen minutes on the clock, Barr worked an opportunity to cross on his left foot, but Buchanan was unable to generate enough power on his header to trouble White. Zanatta was next to show, turning inside Gibson but unable to control his shot on goal. Herron was clattered by Fotheringham in midfield, and Magee saw yellow for holding back Vaughan after a neat turn.

Vaughan and Buchanan again fashioned a chance with half-an-hour on the clock – the Raith number 10’s return pass not matching his colleague’s dart beyond Magee. With Queens’ first attacking sortie since the opening stages, McVey stole down the right, his centre whizzing across Smith’s radar but finding no takers.

With ten minutes to half-time, Raith were still well on top, but with little further to show for their early promise. Buchanan buzzed around the back four, constantly seeking to draw Magee into a challenge – the Queens defender on a yellow already. For the visitors, attacking Raith’s left was yielding some dividend – Burns released Brady over half-way, and Galt was unlucky to slip as he looked to turn Davidson.

With thirty-eight minutes gone, a lovely individual goal to put Raith two up. With Thomson and Galt skirmishing deep in Queens’ territory, Dario Zanatta turned inside and with his left foot stroked a delightful curling finish high to White’s right-hand side from twenty yards.

With a minute to go to the interval, Thomson raced Galt to the touchline, crossing for Buchanan whose flashing header struck White’s bar with the visiting keeper at full-stretch – Rovers’ claims for a corner a compliment to White’s athleticism.

Galt’s deflected free-kick, well gathered by Smith, was all Queens could muster in response before the half, and trooped off despondently at referee Newlands’ whistle. For Rovers, with players fully committed but supporters no doubt keeping half an eye on events at Somerset Park, the interval was greeted with a roar of approval.

Two goals down, the visitors started the second-half on the front foot – Brady’s dipping drive tested Smith to the limit. Right-winger Leitch had been introduced for Magee at the interval, giving more numbers upfront and quicker support to Galt and Keena. Two early corners demanded the careful attention of the Raith rearguard.

With Herron struggling following his first-half clatter from Fotheringham, Ross Matthews was introduced early in the second period. The play had become more scrappy, with less of a flow through midfield – if anything, Queens had the better of it as the second half progressed. Brady’s cross was bundled just wide by Cummings, and sub Leitch asked questions driving at McHattie and Barr on Raith’s left. Thomson and Aiden Keena regularly battled down the right flank, the Rovers full-back retaining the upper hand despite the Queens’ youngster’s best endeavours.

Raith’s first second-half chance came on the hour – Buchanan battled gamely, creating space for Barr to cross; his inswinger finding Vaughan with a step on the taller Millen. The Raith striker’s header thumped White’s cross-bar. Two corners followed, with Zanatta, Vaughan, and Buchanan each twisting and turning, seeking room to shoot. Buchanan was tugged by Millen on the turn – referee Newlands saw nothing amiss. The Raith striker’s driven cross was well-held under pressure by White moments later.

Queens responded – a deep cross fell in the Raith area, with Galt and Brady both in attendance; Thomson cleared off the Raith line with Davidson completing the clearance. Robertson blocked well as Cummings looked to strike on goal. With sixty-six minutes on the clock and despite the score-line, there was still a game on, and still work for Raith to do to secure all three points.

With Barr and Zanatta swapping sides, Raith sought to ask fresh questions of the visitors. Barr’s work in midfield allowed Thomson to cross – Zanatta, already on the floor following a forceful enquiry from Millen, howled for a penalty, disbelieving. Referee Newlands offered his sympathies, but little else.

With Magee off and left-back Gibson moving into the centre, Queens’ Sean Burns was having a torrid second-half as a makeshift defender. Barr’s clever running and Jason Thomson’s charges from deep were a constant threat. Vaughan narrowly failed to connect with one Thomson centre on seventy-three minutes.

With quarter of an hour to go, a let-off for Raith – Keena was quickest to react after a knock-down from Galt’s corner, Davidson blocking a goal-bound effort.  Fotheringham’s cross was well headed clear by Murray, with Keena saw a strike blocked by a sprawling Davidson. Gus MacPherson introduced Donnelly and Orr, both proven goal-scorers this season, sensing Raith had taken their foot off the pedal.

Barry Smith shuffled his pack too, bringing on both Regan Hendry and Willis Furtado with eight minutes remaining – Vaughan and Buchanan making way.  The Frenchman made an immediate impact, bullying his way through a weak Fotheringham challenge, and thumping into Cummings, winning a free-kick in the process – the South Stand roaring its approval. Cummings swiped again at Furtado minutes later, referee Newlands again siding with the Raith striker.

As news of a late Agnew penalty for Stranraer at Somerset Park filtered through the crowd, thoughts were no doubt drifting to next week’s trip to Stair Park as this match petered out to its conclusion. Man-of-the-match Dario Zanatta danced along the touchline, turning Millen inside-out, firing a low shot at White’s near-post – the keeper held his ground well. Matthews’ glancing header forced another fine save, denying Raith a third to cap off an impressive win.

As the final whistle blew, Raith fans sang their way home – fresh life injected into the League campaign, two points down but with two matches still to play.


0
Welcome to a warm, sunny Starks Park - spring has finally sprung! A lovely day for a game of football.
0
Kyle Benedictus is missing from the Rovers squad today, as is Aaron Lennox who was injured last Saturday.
0
Rovers kick off towards the north stand
1
Buchanan makes White work with a snap shot in the opening minute
2
Cummins close from a corner but Vaughan and Murray scramble it clear
4
4th minute applause in memory of a legendary number 4, Ronnie Coyle
6
Barr surges to the bye-line but his cut-back is cleared for a corner
9
A beautiful goal for Raith! Barr volleys Zanatta’s deep cross in with his instep!
12
Galt penalised for a rugby tackle on Barr in midfield
18
Lovely football from Rovers, knocking the ball around all over the park before Buchanan nods Barr’s cross towards goal - no problem for White though
20
Zanatta steps inside and strikes the ball - loops well over, looked like a deflection but it’s a goal kick
23
Herron takes a sore one as Fotheringham clatters into the back of him
23
Herron is back on his feet
26
Neat play by Vaughan to Buchanan, but he didn’t read the return ball into the box
30
McHattie does well to snuff out a rare Queens break
36
Rovers still utterly dominant, although the pace has dropped in the last 5-10 minutes
38
2-0 Rovers! Zanatta steps to his left then batters the ball past White!
40
Keena and Galt trying to make something happen for Queens, but Raith have numbers back to frustrate them
42
Robertson penalised for a foul on Burns, Brady takes the free kick but Vaughan takes the sting off it and Smith gathers
44
Buchanan heads a terrific Thomson cross towards the postage stamp corner - it clipped the bar!
45
Half time, a great 45 from Rovers
45
Smith tips a Queens Park shot over at the beginning of the second 45
49
Early substitution - Herron still struggling with the sore back he got in the first half, Matthews comes on to take his place
56
Play is more even at the start of this half, Queens are seeing more of the ball and are determined to get back into this
60
Vaughan off the bar! Barr’s teasing cross was perfect...
60
Murray headed the corner back to Thomson, who couldn’t get enough of a contact on the ball
61
Big shout for a penalty as Buchanan’s standing foot was taken away as he turned - nothing given
62
Rovers back on top now, Buchanan spots from a tight angle after the ball is played out to the right
65
A Queens free kick is scrambled off the line - a textbook stramash
70
Queens Park sub: Donnelly on for Brady
75
McVey inches away, referee Newlands gives a corner, which was hit too deep - the ball comes back and Smith saves to concede another corner
76
Queens pressing hard, Davo makes a diving block, and the move eventually peters out
77
Queens Park sub: Orr for Magee
79
Correction: the player going off was McVey
80
Thomson does well to keep a through ball in play, crosses for Vaughan but White got his hands to it
82
Double sub: Buchanan and Vaughan off, Hendry and Furtado on
83
Furtado causing chaos already, running at the Queens defence he’s bundled off the ball for a free kick
85
Cummins penalised for a foul on Furtado, it looked like Hendry might have been in on goal
89
Dario Zanatta named man of the match
90
Zanatta shows great skill to beat his man at the flag, then drives at goal - his shot was booted wide at the post by White
90
+1 Matthews flicked header well saved from the corner
90
+2 Full time
90
+2 A deserved victory puts Rovers back to within 2 points of Ayr, who stumbled to a home defeat - the title race is still alive!
Raith Rovers
Smith, Thomson, McHattie, Herron, Murray, Robertson, Buchanan, Vaughan, Barr, Davidson, Zanatta
Subs: Brian, Spence, Matthews, Court, McKay, Hendry, Furtado

Queens Park
White, Millen, Gibson, Fotheringham, Cummins, Magee, Brady, McVey, Keena, Galt, Burns
Subs: Donnelly, Orr, Docherty, Leitch, Mortimer, Ruth, Miller

Rovers gaffer Barry Smith was happy with the 2 – 0 victory over The Spiders

It’ll now take a sudden and unexpected loss of form from Ayr United for Raith Rovers to be able to win the League One title, after last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arbroath saw them slide five points behind the Honest Men with just three games remaining.

However, while they’re heavily reliant on favours from others, they’ll also need to win their trio of fixtures to stand any chance, starting with this Saturday’s home tie with Queen’s Park.

Gus MacPherson’s team are currently bottom of the third tier table, and while Forfar look unassailable in eighth place, seven points clear of the Hampden side, only goal difference separates them from Albion Rovers, who currently reside in the relegation playoff spot.

Rovers have a one hundred percent record against Queen’s Park this term, and if they win at the weekend, it’ll be the second side they’ve completed a clean sweep over, after East Fife.

The first match at the national stadium in September was a fairly comfortable affair, although the 5-0 scoreline was a little harsh on the home side.

Rovers were two up within seven minutes, after goals from Liam Buchanan and Lewis Vaughan, while second half efforts from Dario Zanatta, Bobby Barr and Jason Thomson completed the scoring.

It was a far tighter affair at Stark’s Park in February, as Rovers eventually made the breakthrough during the second period, with Zanatta and Thomson scoring within a few minutes of each other in a 2-0 win.

Rovers made another whirlwind start at Hampden Park in February, leading 3-0 after half-an-hour, with goals from Euan Murray, Willis Furtado and Buchanan, but a goal from Aidan Keena completed the scoring in a 3-1 away win.

It’s been just over ten years since Raith last lost to Queen’s Park, a 1-0 defeat at Stark’s Park in March 2008. It was a season where Raith would finish third behind Airdrie and champions Ross County, before losing to the Diamonds in the playoffs.

Since then, Rovers have won eight straight matches against the Spiders, conceding just twice in the process.

Saturday’s match referee will be Alan Newlands.

Head-To-Head Home League Record:

Raith Rovers Wins: 22 | Queen’s Park Wins: 10 | Draws: 10

Raith Rovers Goals: 85 | Queen’s Park Goals: 53

Current Form:

Raith Rovers: L-L-W-W-W-D

Queen’s Park: L-D-W-L-D-L

Top Goal Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Lewis Vaughan 22 | Liam Buchanan 13 | Greig Spence 13

Queen’s Park: Adam Cummins 10 | Aidan Keena 8 | Luke Donnelly 5

Match Odds:

Raith Rovers: 2/7 | Queen’s Park: 9/1 | Draw: 5/1